What is the Easter Triduum?

What is the Easter Triduum?

From Maundy Thursday until Easter Sunday, the Easter Triduum celebrates for Christians the Mystery of Faith: the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ.

The word Triduum comes from the Latin “tres” and “dies” which mean “a space of three days”. The Paschal Triduum is therefore this lapse of time lasting three days, which meditates on the final meal of Jesus with the apostles, his arrest, his putting on the cross, and his resurrection. This period extends from the evening mass of Maundy Thursday, at nightfall until Easter Sunday inclusive. For believers, it is the center of gravity of the Christian faith and of the liturgical year.

What is Maundy Thursday?

This is the start of the great celebration of the paschal mystery. On Maundy Thursday, Christians remember the washing of Jesus' feet for his disciples and then the Last Supper.

During the evening, the faithful gather for a mass which commemorates Jesus' final meal, the “Last Supper”. It was during this meal that he announced to them the sacrificial gift of his life out of love and for the Salvation of Men. Among the evangelists Luke, Matthew and Mark, this gift is expressed by the institution of the Eucharist with the sharing, by Jesus, of the bread and wine, symbol of his body and his blood. Whereas with the evangelist John, this gift is expressed rather by the gesture of washing the feet. Christ becomes a servant there to better reveal his spiritual testament to the apostles (John 13.15). God, through his Son, becomes weak and vulnerable to accompany Christians and come to their aid. After the Eucharistic celebration, the host is transported to a “restoir”, an altar-shaped support on which the Blessed Sacrament is placed. The faithful can then gather to meditate on the agony of Jesus in Gethsemane.

“It is an example that I gave you so that you too should do, as I did for you. »

John 13.15

What is Good Friday, the day of the Passion of Christ?

Good Friday is traditionally the day of Jesus' death on the Cross at Golgotha ​​(Jerusalem), then his burial. The Church is in mourning and expresses its sadness through almost complete silence during the celebrations. At 3 p.m., believers are called to wander through the Stations of the Cross and its 14 stations (from Christ's condemnation to his death). Exceptionally, there is no mass that day but a liturgy of the word accompanied by a veneration of the Cross which ends with communion.

By tradition, the faithful fast and abstain from meat on this day. For Pope Francis, Good Friday is an important moment of love “which wants to embrace everyone, without exclusion. A love that extends to all times and places: an inexhaustible source of Salvation from which each of us sinners can draw”, ideal for “loving one another”.

Good Friday is “a love that extends to every time and place: an inexhaustible source of Salvation from which each of us sinners can draw”

Pope Francis

What is Holy Saturday, the day of great silence, for?

A day of vigil, waiting and deep silence, Holy Saturday allows everyone to contemplate Jesus at the tomb and his descent into hell. Through a more or less relative “rest”, the Church does not see a day of “emptiness”. Although being the only day of the liturgical year not to have common celebrations (mass, baptism, marriage, burial and communion), Christians join the Virgin Mary in her pain as a bereaved mother. She, who kept faith in the hope of the resurrection of Jesus. On this day, Mary serves as a model of virtue and hope.

Late, at sunset, the Christian community meets for an Easter Vigil, by the light of candles and torches. During this time of meditation and prayer, the faithful prepare for this long-awaited and imminent resurrection. The fire of divine love illuminates the night there.

What do we celebrate on Easter Sunday?

It is the most important feast of the Christian liturgical calendar. Easter celebrates the Resurrection of Christ, the keystone of the Christian faith. Taking its origin from the Jewish Passover, which remembered the miraculous passage of the Red Sea by the Hebrews, in the Old Testament, the Christian festival of Easter celebrates, for its part, another passage: that of death to life of the resurrected Jesus. Through this passage, Christ saved Man from sin and called him to eternal life. Etymologically, the word “Passover” also means “the passage”. A true day of joy, Alleluia, which has not been acclaimed since the beginning of Lent, resounds again at mass: Christ has conquered death, and humanity with him. This day is marked in churches by the color white or gold, a symbol of joy. But also, the timpani of the bells ringing again.

Easter Sunday is not on a fixed date. Its date changes because Easter is celebrated on the Sunday following the spring full moon. The spring equinox being mid-March, this year Easter falls on March 31, 2024.

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